How to Pick the Right Interior Design College East Brewton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near East Brewton AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in East Brewton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, East Brewton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in East Brewton AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their East Brewton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your East Brewton AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many East Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the East Brewton AL school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of East Brewton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the East Brewton AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the East Brewton AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your East Brewton home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near East Brewton AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best East Brewton Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Brewton AL.